Blog

Inside Your Data Fabric: Building Skyscrapers with Google’s Dean Hildebrand

For the last 20 years, Dean Hildebrand, Technical Director at Google Cloud, has worked on parallel file systems and HPC, even within the NFSv4 working group, standardizing the latest drafts of the NFS protocol. He’s had what one might call an insider’s view of a long history in a complicated and evolving sector of technology.

For this segment of Inside Your Data Fabric, Dean and I sat down (virtually) to discuss translating NFS protocols into the cloud, how cloud technology has gained popular confidence over the past two decades, and the misconceptions about lift-and-shift migrations to the cloud.


We’re All Coming to the Same Conclusion: It’s Difficult.

Over the past few decades, an explosion in data has made it harder for enterprises—and even individuals—to manage that data effectively. New technology, the entrance of the cloud, and faster networks have accelerated the rate of development. But with that growth, the industry has seen several challenges: building a file store that works takes a lot more elbow grease than it seems at first glance.

And file storage is, in many ways, still nascent. When the cloud came on the scene, enterprises were mistrustful: how did they know they were secure? That their data wouldn’t go down? The cloud, Dean remarks, needed to prove itself—to make clear that it could offer the same (or better) availability, performance, services. It had to do more than merely capture the imagination of gung-ho engineers; it had to unequivocally make enterprises’ operations easier.

How Google Cloud + Cloud Volumes Service Make Life Easier

As we made our way through the ponderous history of file storage, our discussion wrapped around to Google’s relationship with Cloud Volumes Service. As Technology Partner of the Year for Engineering in 2019, NetApp has cemented itself as one of Google’s most interesting partnerships. “There’s a time and place for every technology,” Dean remarked.

“Working with partners like NetApp makes me really excited about what could we do.” Together, NetApp and Google Cloud express a “seamless data vision, so that customers can worry less about their data, the safety of their data, and the apps that are running it.”

At the heart of our partnership, Dean said, is the idea that Google Cloud customers shouldn’t notice the difference between Cloud Volumes Service and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes Service should exist in the same platform with the same interface. Google has integrated it into their console, billing and all, so that an existing Google customer “wouldn’t know it was operated by NetApp.”  

But the future for the cloud—and what it can create through partnerships—goes beyond a familiar (inter)face.

Lift-and-Shift Skyscrapers, Debunking Myths of Refactoring, and More

Watch this segment of Inside Your Data Fabric to hear more about technology past, present, and future, and what it really means to optimize your data and applications in the cloud without rearchitecting your foundation.  

-